Political Science Faculty Publications

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Does the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) reduce violence against women? CEDAW has the distinction of being an unusually effective human rights treaty: promoting women’s political rights in particular, having a modest effect on women’s social rights, but showing little or no effect on economic rights.1 However, unlike these other rights, the CEDAW Treaty does not explicitly mention violence. The CEDAW Committee interpreted the Treaty as covering gender violence after the fact. It issued General Recommendations in 1989 and 1992 mandating states to collect information and take action on the issue, respectively.2 The Committee’s advocacy on the issue of violence raises interesting issues in international law: To what degree can a treaty body raise issues not explicitly included in treaty law, to what degree will states comply with its recommendations on these issues, and how effective will such advocacy be? This Article examines these questions empirically, looking at how states have responded to the CEDAW Committee’s General Recommendations on gender violence, and the degree to which their responses have been effective on the ground.

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Michigan State Law Review


Michigan State University

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